Shakeup at Zune HQ: Lee Out, Allard In
"Bryan Lee, the executive in charge of business development for the Zune program, is stepping down from Microsoft to be replaced by J Allard, the bald hipster who received much of the credit for building the Xbox brand. Microsoft insists that Lee (a 43-year old) is "retiring" for personal reasons and absolutely not because of corporate displeasure over the Zune launch."
This move is both bad news and good news for the Zune program. Bad news: Lee was the executive who was hyping the anticipated Microsoft / Music Industry meeting which held promise to loosen Zune's much maligned 3-days / 3-plays DRM restriction, leaving the future of this meeting up in the air. Not-So-Bad News: Lee also personally headed up many of the content negations which resulted in too-restrictive DRM as well as the $1 Universal buy-off. Good News: The Zune team will now be head up by Allard, who has been credited with much of Xbox's success. If anyone can crank this product up a notch, it should be Allard.